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2015 worse for MW tea in 10 yrs

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The year 2015 was the worst in the production and trading of Malawi tea since 2005, the Tea Association of Malawi (Taml) has said.

Taml chairman Sangwani Hara said this during the tea sector’s 79th Annual General Meeting held in Blantyre on Saturday.

“We registered the lowest production of tea in the last ten years with a crop of 39.4 million kilogrammes. To worsen our situation Kenya is experiencing good rains and a bumper harvest, thereby creating pressure on Malawi tea prices,” said Hara.

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Malawi’s average annual tea production is 46 million kilogrammes and according to Taml, a record output was achieved in 2009 when the country produced 52.2 million kilogrammes of the crop.

Tea contributes seven percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and eight percent of export earnings.

Hara said in 2015, tea suffered a double blow both in terms of price and volume.

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On the Revitalisation of the Malawi tea project, Hara said significant progress is being made.

He said the Revitalisation of the Malawi tea project is aimed at rejuvenating the tea industry in the country to make it more profitable so that it can sustain better wages and living conditions for workers and better incomes for smallholders.

“We have made significant progress but a lot of work still needs to be done. We still have a long distance to walk,” said Hara.

According to the Reserve Bank of Malawi, monthly economic report for the month of October, cumulatively, tea production registered 3.2 million kilograms from July 2015 to end-October 2015.

Tea sales through the Limbe auction market amounted to 0.2 million kilogrammes during October 2015 compared to 0.3 million kilogrammes auctioned in October 2014.

Average tea prices during the review month stood at US$1.93 per kilogramme, higher than US$1.43 per kilogramme fetched in a corresponding month in 2014.

Reflective of relatively higher prices in October 2015, total realisations from the tea sales stood at US$0.5 million in the review month, higher than US$0.4 million realised in October 2014,” reads part of the report.

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